Yarger’s serving sparks Reed City

ACES WILD: Reed City’s Emma Lockhart (2) is set to sere the ball in the districts against Farwell. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)
ACES WILD: Reed City’s Emma Lockhart (2) is set to sere the ball in the districts against Farwell. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

CLARE – In Reed City’s drive to a Class B district crown, the most difficult test wound up in the first round with serving specialist Brittani Yarger coming up big at the right time.

Farwell has struggled on the volleyball court most of the season. But it didn’t show in this battle on Oct. 30.

The Eagles battled Reed City for every point before succumbing to the Coyotes 3-1.

The Eagles upended Reed City 25-23 in the first game, but then Reed City was able to take the next three, but not easily, 25-23, 25-17, 26-24.

Farwell’s season ends at 11-21-1.

“They did about what we expected, they have a couple of nice middles that if you leave them alone, they’ll hurt you,” said Reed City coach Don Patterson. “They served pretty tough.”

“We played very well, the girls gave everything they had,” said Farwell coach Jacob Sullivan. “There were a couple of times we let off a little bit and let a few points drop. That was the difference in the game.”

Yarger, a serving specialist, was at the top of her game again. For the night, she had seven aces.

In the critical third game, Yarger opened with nine straight points, including four consecutive aces. Reed City held off a brief Farwell surge to win that game and take a 2-1 lead.

“It’s my lift, I have to make sure I lift it high enough to get it over,” Yarger said. “I’ve been working a lot on my lift. Most of mine are floaters. They move so that they’re hard to see.”

“She’s been a big catalyst for us on the line,” Patterson said. “She has a nice float service. It moves all over the place. When it gets to you, you have to really stay focused. It floats all over and you have to stay with it. You can’t take your eye off it. Those hard float serves are typically the toughest.”

“We just didn’t do well with it,” Sullivan said. “They were short and floating a little bit. They had us off guard.”

In the fourth game, Yarger had five straight service points, two on aces, to key her team to a 17-12 lead. The Coyotes built a 24-19 lead but Farwell scored the next five points to tie it. But following a tip by Jacolyn Mullins, Yarger went to the line again and served another ace for match point.

“I just wanted to get it over the net,” Yarger smiled. “I didn’t know it was going to be an ace. I just worry about getting it over.”

A kill by Natalie Westhoff gave Reed City a 23-21 lead in the first game but the Eagles scored the next four points.

Farwell had a 21-17 lead in the second game but was outscored 8-2 down the stretch by the Coyotes to make it a 1-1 game. Mullins had a block for game point.

“Defensively we fought through and didn’t get down,” Patterson said. “We played aggressive defense all the way through.”

For Reed City, Heather Tacey delivered 53 assists and four kills, Mullins had 21 kills and 26 digs, Alaina Woodard added seven kills and four blocks, Yarger had 10 digs, Lockhart contributed seven kills and 21 digs, Michaela Reed had six kills and three blocks, Hensel had 13 digs, Karah Hensel chipped in with seven digs and Natalie Westhoff had 14 kills and three blocks.

“We started out a little shaky,” Westhoff said. “Once we pick it up and start communicating, we were playing our game. (Farwell) was tougher than we expected. We were prepared for the game.”

Serve receive wbas a key for the Coyotes.

“Without that, we would struggle,” Westhoff said.

Yarger also plays middle back.

“We just need to stay focused, work on our serves and be positive,” Yarger said.

“After the Essexville tournament, we’ve been playing the best I’ve seen us in awhile,” Westhoff said. “We’re all best friends on the team.”